NASA’s spacecraft that landed on Mars Monday has beamed back its first clear photo of the desolate Red Planet.
“There’s a quiet beauty here. Looking forward to exploring my new home,” NASA tweeted late Monday, hours after its new InSight lander touched down.
The image came after the rover had earlier sent back a somewhat blurry photo. The space agency said that in the interim the spacecraft had opened its solar panels, which allowed it to recharge its batteries for the mission.
“Our Mars Odyssey orbiter phoned home, relaying news from @NASAInSight indicating its solar panels are open & collecting sunlight on the Martian surface,” NASA wrote in the tweet. “Also in the dispatch: this snapshot from the lander’s arm showing the instruments in their new home.”
The InSight spacecraft landed on Mars on Monday after six-month journey to the planet. The dispatch that included the first clear photo of Mars from the mission were relayed to Earth by the Mars Odyssey orbiter.
“The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries,” Tom Hoffman, a project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which leads the mission, said in a statement.
More pictures of the Red Planet may be beamed back in the coming days.
Soon, the mission team will unfurl InSight’s robotic arm and use the attached camera to snap photos of the ground for scientists to determine where to place the spacecraft’s instruments, NASA said.